Girlfriends: Chaperoning your Teenager

Took my teen-age son and his new friend to a movie the other day. I mean, I drove them to the theater so they could see a movie, hung out some place far, far, away (by request: Mom, could you not be anywhere near the theater so that if we walk around, we don’t run into you?) and went back to pick them up afterward.
The two of them sat in the back while I drove. I could see that the girl was really into my son. She was fiddling with his hair and giggling and leaning against him and all that. She took a selfie pic with him, all cute and heads together.

I wondered if she was going to post it some place.

It’s only been a month since my son broke up with his girlfriend of 14 months. The ex-girlfriend goes to the same school as my son and his new little friend, and it’s a small school of 700, so the kids all see each other. The ex and my son have two classes together.

Later that night, after the movie, when my son and I were driving home alone, I said to him, Boy, Laila is sure into you.

Yeah, he said, I know.

Are you guys dating? I asked.

No, he said. She wants to. She hasn’t come right out and said so, but she’s made some comments about it.
Are you thinking about that? I asked.

Yeah, he said. But I’m not ready. It’s only been a month since I broke up with Zoe, and I still feel kind of raw from that.
I made some sort of affirming noise.

He kept talking: I was with Zoe for 14 months, and I did everything for her. I was always taking her stuff. [This is true. He was constantly buying YooHoos and chocolate for her and taking them to school. Several times he made pancakes in the morning and took them to school in a container with another container of syrup.]

I did stuff all the time, but she didn’t reciprocate, he said. She also said some really hurtful things. One time I opened up and told her about something I was struggling with, and all she said was, ‘You don’t have real-world problems. You’re just soft.’

That really bothered me, he said. I talked to her about it a month or so later, and of course she had forgotten all about it.
I stayed with her longer than I should have, he said. She actually broke up with me six months ago, but then changed her mind and wanted me back. I should not have gone back.

So I’m really not ready for another girlfriend yet, he said.

I inserted my opinion: I think that’s really wise. Giving yourself some breathing space is good. Besides, Christmas is coming up, and if you don’t start officially dating her until afterward, you don’t have to buy her a Christmas present!
I struck gold with that comment. His eyes lit up, he laughed, and said, “Wow, you’re right!!”